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Mini dress

Mini dress

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1966 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bates, John, born 1938 (designer)
    Jean Varon (designed for)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Viscose and nylon blend, rayon lining

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bold minidress was worn by the fashion journalist Marit Allen. In 1964, Marit joined British Vogue, where she stayed for ten years as editor of the hugely influential "Young Idea" pages. Many young and innovative designers, such as John Bates, received their first significant exposure through Marit, who not only gave them magazine space, but happily wore their clothes herself, such as this tiny micro-minidress

During the 60s, Bates designs were at their most modernistic. The most futuristic of his mid-60s designs featured bare midriffs, sheer panels, and very short hemlines. Marit credited him as the creator of the miniskirt, rather than Mary Quant or Courregés. This fluorescent green micro-minidress is made from a shiny nylon-blend fabric with a machine-like sheen. The simple straight-cut silhouette, deep armholes, and contrasting pink binding to the seams emphasise its sporty youthful quality.

Physical description

Fluorescent lime green viscose-nylon blend micro-mini dress, sleeveless, with deep cut-away armholes. The hem, side seams, neck and armholes are bound with hot pink. Lined in rayon

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1966 (made)


Bates, John, born 1938 (designer)
Jean Varon (designed for)

Materials and Techniques

Viscose and nylon blend, rayon lining

Marks and inscriptions

made in england
Designer label in dress

100% rayon lining
91% acetate
8% nylon
Handwritten tag in back of dress


Length: 83 cm overall, Circumference: 79 cm bust, Circumference: 750 mm

Object history note

This dress was worn by the fashion journalist Marit Allen (1941-2007). She entered fashion journalism in 1961 when she became an assistant at Queen magazine. She quickly gained control of the "About 20" pages of the magazine, in which she showcased young design talent and innovative photography. When Beatrix Miller, the editor of Queen, went to edit Vogue in 1964, she took Marit with her. For ten years, Marit Allen worked as a fashion editor on the magazine. Her "Young Idea" pages, written and captioned by herself, showcased innovative young design and fashion, and had a great influence on 60s fashion. Marit Allen was often photographed for her own stories.

John Bates was one of Marit's favourite designers and became a close friend of hers. He was chosen to do her wedding dress. Marit championed Bates, and insisted that he was the true creator of the miniskirt, rather than Mary Quant or Courrèges. Bates' 60s designs were very adventurous - he bared the midriff, used vinyls - including transparent vinyl - and raised hemlines. The graphic silver and white ensemble he created for Allen's wedding encapsulates much of his work in the mid-1960s. This extremely short minidress is another example of Bates' mid-60s work.

Descriptive line

F, 1966-68, Bates, John for Jean Varon. Fluorescent lime green vsicose/nylon blend, hot pink binding


Viscose; Nylon; Rayon


Fashion; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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